Monday August 12, 2013

Moondram Pirai vs. Sadma – a question about Ilayaraja!

Posted by Karthik

sadma-3This is something I have always wanted to ask, but never did, so far. So, here goes!

Moondram Pirai released in 1982, at least according to Wikipedia (released on February 19, 1982). The film’s Hindi remake, Sadma, released in 1983 (July 8, 1983).

My question pertains to the magical soundtrack by Ilayaraja. There are 5 songs in the original – Kanne kalaimaane, Poongaatru pudhudhaanadhu, Ponmeni urugudhey, Vaanengum thanga vinmeengal and Narikkadhai.

The Hindi version has 5 songs too (with an added sad version for Kanne kalaimane’s Hindi variant). Why did Ilayaraja and Balu Mahendra think the original tunes of Vaanengum and Poongaatru were not suitable for the Hindi version? If the other 3 songs were somehow considered apt for the Hindi version, why not these 2 songs?

I mean, what went into their mind that they felt the urge to change these tunes? Personally, I’m not very fond of the Hindi equivalent of Vaanengum (Yeh hawa), but think that the Hindi equivalent of Poongaatru (Aye zindagi) was an amazing composition.

Aye zindagi’s tune was reused by Ilayaraja in 1984, in the Tamil film (starring Rajinikanth), Thambikku Entha Ooru!

In fact, the 2nd interlude of Aye zindagi has a mesmerising musical piece that was featured in the 2nd interlude of Poongaatru. Somehow that piece magically fits into the new tune’s scheme of things!

So, who decided this? And why? I always felt that Poongaatru is a fantastic tune that can fit into Hindi too (more than Kanne kalaimane, that I wasn’t – still not – that big a fan of, though the world around me was going nuts on it). I just can’t figure out why it was dropped in Hindi.



  • Narayanaswamy

    The same question I had. Still vaanengum is one of the uber best of raaja till date. And aye zindagi is of a similar stature in hindi version. And i always feel that its a great loss not having access to a clear version of vaanengum. The complexity of the instrumentation is just mind boggling.

  • Sharanya Mohan Bala

    This post is so interesting because only recently (a week ago or so) did I discover that there was no Hindi version for the ‘Poongatru’ when I wanted to show off Ilayaraja’s great compositions for Hindi to a North-Indian collegue. And I seem to second every word of your last stanza, I have always felt the same. Now I know I’m not alone with my unique taste in music.

    • milliblog

      This comment made my day… thanks! 🙂

  • taparam

    Good question. A couple of hypotheses: a) This was Ilaiyaraaja’s first Hindi film. He wanted to start off with some originals. b) He was working with another great – Gulzar. Maybe that collaboration necessitated a different tune.
    Interesting observation on Aye Zindagi. I don’t know of many songs where Raaja has re-used a Hindi original in Tamil. Plenty of cases of Tamil songs reused in Hindi though.

  • shankara narayanan

    Wherever I listen to the EN VAAZHVILE song,, I used to think that the second interlude was a direct lift from POONGAATRU,,, However Now I know that the second interlude of AYE ZINDAGI was inspired from POONGAATRU and EN VAAZHIVILE is a direct lift of AIY ZINDAGI!!! We are discussing a combination of three songs with a single piece of music!!! Raaja rox!!!

    • Sharanya Mohan Bala

      What an interesting way to put it.

  • pavanjha

    Let me put another perspective.. The Hindi version was done under the Guidance of Hirishikesh Mukherjee & Gulzar.. and Hrishida/Gulzar were definitely credited with some very special “Directorial” credits (just forgetting the exact credits).. Not sure if they could have a say here..

    • milliblog

      Very possible! The CD cover I’ve included above lists Hrishida’s name above the title, next only to the producer – Raj Sippy. It’s quite possible that Hrishida and Gulzar together had a say in which songs Raja and Balu Mahendra could transpose in Hindi and which songs to drop.

      Would love to know who made this change happen – all we can do till then is guess and assume 🙂

  • soberanddrunk

    Dude ..I have had the same question for years.. Poongatru and AYE Zindagi are equally mesmerizing. I have always felt Raaja’s tunes in HIndi have never gotten decent lyrics and may be Poongatru’s Pallavi could have been a little complicated to fit in (Irandu Uyirai ..) Just a guess.. Nevertheless, Aye Zindagi is a gem . Personally, did not care much for the tamil lyrics , also , semi proving that Aye Zindagi is probably more suited for hindi .(Irumbaaga Ninaithene, karumbaaga inithaaye!! Mudiala ) ! Ofcourse Vaan Engum is such a Gem !! Chancea illa!! (Another example of Raaja’s Hindi tunes gone awry with so-so lyrics- Mahadev ? – Rhim Jhim Rhim Jhim (Used by Yuvan as Theendi Theendi is some movie) and Dil waale )

  • febinntj

    Both are classy with typical raja signature.But agreeing to karthik view,Poongatru tune should have been retained.Such a blow away melody.

  • bukowskinerd

    Good one Kartik, and agree. And as an aside, am I the only who loves Poongatru over Kanne Kalaimaane?

    • milliblog

      As explained in the post above, I’m with you on Poongaatru being better than Kanne kalaimane… for a long time. Just didn’t have the courage to say it given how revered and popular Kanne is 🙂

      • bukowskinerd

        Ditto 😀 So this post served a “coming out of closet” purpose as well, I’d probably cop a lot of flak for saying this elsewhere 😛

      • Amicuzzz

        Gud one Karthik..happy to see some share the same view..happy to share my humble view with yours as well 😉

  • Rathnavelu

    I raise the same koschan to RGV when the Hindi version of his BB, ‘Shiva’ came out. Jagadi Jagadi was redone as were the other two songs, ‘Meri Qadar Jani & Hello Wrong Number’ [Both sung by Asha bhosle & Suresh Wadkar.]

  • Raja Gopalakrishnan

    Just listening to the hindi versions (Sadma) and stumbled upon this discussion 🙂 I believe, the hindi version of Vanengum (Yeh hawa) could have been done to suit the hindi music culture around that period of time.. I m pretty sure Vaanengum might have clicked as well, but could be possible that they might have wanted to give a different flavor.. And I think it worked really well for the north indian audience..they love both aye zindagi and yeh hawa. Personally I like both the hindi and tamil versions. Vaanengum has a nice grove like ithu oru nila kaalam, while yeh hawa starts off with a pink floyd styled groove and then a party feel with the african instruments and drums smashing it all over and then the wonderful aalap by suresh wadkar in the first interlude makes it even more special.

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